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Interior Designer

Interior designers create and enhance interior spaces. They aim to improve quality of life, increase productivity, and protect public health, safety, and welfare.

Also Known As

Designer, Interior Architect

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 5242: Interior Designers

2006 NOC-S

  • F142: Interior Designers

2011 NOC

  • 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC

  • 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators

2021 NOC

  • 52121: Interior designers and interior decorators

2023 OaSIS

  • 52121.00: Interior designers and interior decorators
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Interior designers create and enhance interior spaces. They ensure the spaces they work on are aesthetically pleasing, functional, and focused on quality of life and safety.

They plan new interiors and renovate existing ones. They work on residential single- and multi-family dwellings. They also work on non-residential buildings up to a limited size, such as offices, restaurants, and stores.

When creating plans, interior designers consider:

  • Health and safety requirements
  • Lighting and acoustic requirements
  • How the interior should work with the exterior shell of the building
  • Physical location
  • Social context
  • Environmental sustainability

Responsibilities vary from one position or project to another. In general, interior designers:

  • Identify and analyze client needs and goals
  • Prepare preliminary plans and design concepts such as drawings, sketches, renderings, perspectives, colour and material boards, photographs, or models
  • Prepare working drawings and specifications for non-load-bearing construction including materials, finishes, millwork, and furnishings
  • Confirm that the project has the required permits
  • Ensure the project complies with building codes, safety codes, and other regulations
  • Conduct field reviews of construction and installation of furnishings, fixtures, and equipment

Interior designers may perform some project management tasks. For example, they may:

  • Estimate costs and prepare budgets and schedules
  • Prepare tender documents
  • Coordinate the bid process
  • Help clients choose contractors and award contracts
  • Manage costs to remain within the client’s budget
  • Coordinate delivery, installation, and labour to stay on schedule
  • Review and evaluate projects on clients’ behalf, both during implementation and upon completion

Interior designers may work with other professionals such as architects, engineers, and environmental specialists. For some project types identified in the Architects Act [pdf], interior designers may work under the supervision of registered professionals.

They work closely with general contractors to ensure that workers interpret their drawings correctly. When there is no general contractor, they may coordinate the activities of trades such as painters and carpenters.

In Alberta, only licensed interior designers can practice the full scope of interior design as defined in the Architects Act and Architects Act General Regulation [pdf]. They are considered registered professionals by the Architects Act and the Alberta Building Code. Interior designers are sometimes called interior architects. In addition to the duties described above, licensed interior designers can:

  • Work on any building project in Alberta, regardless of building type or size
  • Be the registered professional of record (primary consultant) for projects
  • Stamp or seal drawings to get building permits

In Alberta, architects can perform all the duties of licensed interior designers. In addition, they can handle issues related to the exterior building shell, environmental separations, and exits.

Both interior designers and interior decorators are concerned with how a space looks and functions. However, interior designers are involved with more technical considerations such as acoustics and health and safety issues. (Interior decorators focus on the ornamental and moveable parts of interiors such as furniture, rugs, and curtains. They also focus on fixed details that can be easily added, such as moldings and built-in furniture.)

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Working conditions vary considerably. Interior designers frequently meet with clients, other consultants, and contractors. They may meet at:

  • Clients’ workplaces and homes
  • Consultants’ offices
  • Interior design offices
  • Worksites

Work hours are sometimes long or irregular. They may include weekends and evenings.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interior Designers

2006 NOC: 5242

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to develop plans, elevations, cross sections and detailed drawings, and advise on selection of colours, finishes and materials, floor and wall coverings, interior and exterior lighting, furniture and other items, taking into account ergonomic and occupational health standards

METHODICAL

Interest in precision working with equipment to prepare plans and specifications for final interior designs in accordance with current practices and codes; and to estimate costs and materials required

SOCIAL

Interest in consulting with clients to determine needs, preferences, safety requirements and purpose of space; may advise on leasing, real estate and marketing

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Working conditions vary considerably. Interior designers frequently meet with clients, other consultants, and contractors. They may meet at:

  • Clients’ workplaces and homes
  • Consultants’ offices
  • Interior design offices
  • Worksites

Work hours are sometimes long or irregular. They may include weekends and evenings.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC: 5242

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 93 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 29, 2021 and May 20, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Consult with clients to determine needs, preferences, safety requirements and purpose of space
Tasks: Develop plans, elevations, cross sections and detailed drawings
Tasks: Develop detailed plans and 3-D models showing arrangement of walls, dividers, displays, lighting and other fixtures
Tasks: Create interior spaces that reflect clients' needs and tastes
Tasks: Advise on selection of colours, finishes and materials, lighting, furniture and other items, taking into account ergonomic and occupational health standards
Tasks: Read blueprint, schemas and drawings
Construction Specialization: Organized
Tasks: Estimate cost of projects and prepare detailed specifications
Attention to detail
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no standard educational requirements for interior designers in Alberta.

There are educational requirements to apply for:

Some post-secondary schools offer 2-year interior design diploma programs. Graduates of these programs will need further education and a longer period of work experience to qualify for professional registration.

Interior designers must stay up to date with technological advancements in software programs such as AutoCAD and Revit.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Lethbridge College
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
University of Alberta
Visual College of Art and Design of Calgary

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Architect

Architects design buildings and advise clients regarding building projects. They prepare programs, sketches, and cost estimates. They also produce construction drawings to scale, write specifications, and review on-site construction work.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Architects Act [pdf] and Architects Act General Regulation [pdf], registration with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) is mandatory. Only registered members may:

  • Engage in the practice of architecture as defined in the Act and Regulation
  • Use the title Architect or Registered Architect
  • Use the terms architect, architectural, architecture, or any derivative in titles or to describe services provided
  • Affix a registered architect seal or stamp to architectural documents

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Architect.

Interior Designer

Licensed interior designers create and enhance interior spaces. They aim to improve quality of life, increase productivity, and protect public health, safety, and welfare.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Architects Act [pdf] and Architects Act General Regulation [pdf], registration with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) is mandatory. Only licensed interior designers may:

  • Engage in the practice of interior design as defined in the Act and Regulation
  • Use the title Licensed Interior Designer
  • Use the term Licensed Interior Designer or any derivative to describe services provided
  • Affix a Licensed Interior Designer seal or stamp to architectural documents

You do not have to be licensed if you do not carry out any of the above. However, you must clearly articulate the limited scope of services you are permitted to provide.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Interior Designer.

Additional Information

Various organizations in Alberta offer registration to non-licensed interior designers:

Registration with these organizations is voluntary. To learn about registration requirements, visit the organization’s website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Interior designers work in:

  • Architectural firms
  • Building development companies
  • Corporate planning offices
  • Furniture and product or materials manufacturers and dealers
  • Government planning offices
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Institutions such as schools, universities, and hospitals
  • Interior design firms
  • Property management companies

Graduates of recognized 4-year degree programs usually begin work in interior design firms or architectural firms, or in the planning departments of corporations or institutions.

Graduates of 2-year diploma programs often work for home builders, kitchen and bath manufacturers, or flooring companies. Or they may work as assistants in interior design firms or architectural firms.

Some work in retail sales positions (see the Interior Decorator occupational profile). Others may work in technical sales positions with commercial suppliers (see the Technical Sales Representative occupational profile). Experience gained in sales positions may not be eligible for credit toward professional accreditation.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators occupational group, 84.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5242: Interior designers and interior decorators occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.5% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 87 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interior designers and interior decorators

2016 NOC: 5242
Average Wage
$31.42
Per Hour
Average Salary
$62,660.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.5
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5242 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $35.90 $24.31 $23.59
Overall $22.07 $46.01 $31.42 $29.66
Top $22.85 $71.95 $39.59 $36.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Retail Trade
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
34%
34%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
6%
6%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
9%
9%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) website: www.aaa.ab.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) website: www.accredit-id.org

Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) website: www.cidq.org

Decorators and Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada) website: ddacanada.com

Interior Designers of Alberta (IDA) website: www.idalberta.ca

Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) website: www.idcanada.org

National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) website: www.nkba.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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